Showing posts with label Hepburn’s Necklace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hepburn’s Necklace. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Hepburn's Necklace: Jan Moran's Beautiful, Enthralling Romantic Saga

My husband and I recently listened to the audiobook of Hepburn’s Necklace by bestselling author Jan Moran. It is a 20th-century historical romance novel that weaves together a captivating, multigenerational story of love lost and found. It effortlessly blends history, mystery, the glamour of old Hollywood, the hardships of rural Texas farming life, and the gorgeous, scenic Italian coast. We loved every minute of it, so much that I also purchased the Kindle version. Here is my book review.

Hepburns Necklace

Hepburns Necklace
Escape to the shores of beautiful Lake Como in Italy for this multigenerational historical romance
that combines the magic of the Italian coast with the glamour of Hollywood in its heyday


When costume designer Ariana Ricci discovers that her controlling bridegroom has been unfaithful, she leaves him at the altar. Her rigid, ambitious, and workaholic mother, Mari, refused to take time off to attend the wedding. Fortunately, the desolate bride finds solace with her great-aunt, glamorous Hollywood legend Ruby Raines, who whisks Ariana away from the church and off to Italy for some much-needed healing time.

Ruby has strong emotional ties to Italy, where she traveled as a teenager to work as an extra in the 1952 film Roman Holiday starring Audrey Hepburn. It’s also where she fell deeply and irrevocably in love with Niccolò, an Italian extra in the iconic movie, and was befriended by Hepburn who gifted her with the necklace that gives this novel its name. Ruby and Niccolò had pledged themselves to each other faithfully, but his sudden silence soon after Ariana’s forced return to Hollywood remains a mystery. Ruby can only assume that he must have died, the only reason she can accept that would have kept him from her. During the filming of Roman Holiday, she and Niccolò had spent a magical few days on beautiful Lago di Como (Lake Como). Now, roughly half a century later, Ruby decides to purchase Villa Fiori, a rundown but historic villa there. Lago di Como holds precious memories for the aging Ruby, and she engages Ariana’s design expertise to refurbish the villa and restore it to its former glory.

As Ariana is looking for fabrics for Villa Fiori’s makeover, she is introduced to Alesandro, the handsome, savvy, and charming owner of the silk factory that provides textiles for all the top designer fashion houses, such as Versace, Missoni, Armani, Prada, and Ferragamo. Ruby encourages her grand-niece to accept Alessandro’s invitation to go out socially. However, Ariana is a bit gun-shy after her recent, narrow escape from her untrustworthy fiancé. While redecorating the villa, as Ariana combs through some of her famous great-aunt’s keepsakes she comes across some old letters with Italian postmarks from the 1950s. However, the famous and normally effusive Ruby is surprisingly closed-mouthed when asked about their contents, and we slowly learn more of her long-held secrets as the book progresses.

The relationship between Ariana and Alessandro gradually blooms, and Ruby relives her romantic past vicariously through them, musing on the secret love of her youth and the betrayal of a trusted relative that dramatically transformed the trajectory of her life.

The more we learn about Hollywood legend Ruby Raines as the book unfolds, the more questions we have.

  • What happened to the letter in Ruby’s empty envelope that Ariana found?
  • What were Ruby’s sister’s dying wishes?
  • What is behind the estrangement between Mari and Ariana?
  • Why do Ruby and her great-niece have such a special bond?
  • Why was Ruby’s aunt Vivienne jealous of her?
  • What really happened to Ruby’s beloved Niccolò?
  • Will Ariana, Ruby, or both get a second chance at love and, if so, will they have the courage to take it?

Jan Moran’s writing is elegant and immersive, characterized by detailed descriptions and a keen sense of pacing. The dual timelines are seamlessly integrated, allowing us to move fluidly between Ruby’s present-day experiences and the historical context of her teenage and subsequent years in Hollywood. The Italian coast is depicted with lush, evocative descriptions that transport readers to the sun-drenched landscapes and quaint villages. The setting serves as a perfect backdrop for the romantic and historical elements of the story. 

Hepburn’s Necklace is a beautifully crafted novel that blends romance, history, and self-discovery into a compelling narrative. Jan Moran’s ability to evoke the magic of old Hollywood and the charm of the Italian coast makes this book a standout in contemporary romance.

This novel takes us on a long (356 pages) and winding journey that is well worth the trip. My husband and I loved it and, despite the satisfying conclusion, we were sorry to see it end. I highly recommend the audiobook, which provides nearly 13 hours of listening pleasure and is skillfully narrated by Erin Bennett. I also purchased the Kindle version as I look forward to rereading it.

The formats listed below are (in order) Kindle, audiobook, and paperback. Enjoy the ride!

Hepburn's Necklace: Jan Moran's Beautiful, Enthralling Romantic Saga by Margaret Schindel

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